08 Jan Just Training for a Marathon Can Reverse Some Cardiovascular Aging
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Charlotte Manisty PhD MRCP
Senior Lecturer Consultant Cardiologist
Barts Heart Centre and University College
University College Hospitals, London
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The normal ageing process results in vascular stiffening which in turn contributes to adverse cardiovascular events including heart attacks and strokes. We know that trained athletes have more compliant blood vessels than their peers, and previous small studies of supervised exercise training have shown that such interventions can reduce blood pressure.
We aimed to assess the impact of unsupervised exercise training on cardiovascular physiology in novice runners preparing for a first-time marathon using advanced noninvasive imaging in order to better understand whether it is possible to ‘reverse’ vascular ageing.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We showed that six months of training in first-time marathon runners results in an improvement in aortic stiffness equivalent to a four year reduction in vascular age and a 4mmHg reduction in blood pressure. These changes are similar to the effects of blood pressure medications and have the potential to reduce the risk of stroke by 10%. Importantly the positive impacts were greatest in those with the most to gain – older, male participants with higher initial blood pressure and slower marathon completion times.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The health benefits of exercise training are not limited to individuals who are highly trained or competitive athletes. Training for a mass participation event such as a ‘fun-run’ or marathon has the potential to reverse the effects of adverse effects of ageing on the cardiovascular system.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: What we cannot assess from this study is how long these positive impacts are sustained for and whether participants maintain their fitness levels following marathon completion. Data does however suggest that the positive changes that people make whilst training for a marathon extend beyond just the exercise that they do, with improvement nutrition and sleep leader to overall healthier lifestyles.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: As you plan your New Year’s resolutions at the start of 2020, consider setting yourself a goal of participation in an organised exercise event – the health benefits appear to extend to all and may potentially rejuvenate your cardiovascular system!
Anish N. Bhuva, Andrew D’Silva, Camilla Torlasco, Siana Jones, Niromila Nadarajan, Jet Van Zalen, Nish Chaturvedi, Guy Lloyd, Sanjay Sharma, James C. Moon, Alun D. Hughes, Charlotte H. Manisty,
Training for a First-Time Marathon Reverses Age-Related Aortic Stiffening,
Journal of the American College of Cardiology,
Volume 75, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 60-71,
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